{C}ollective {P}henomena and {N}on-{F}inite {S}tate {C}omputation in a {H}uman {S}ocial {S}ystem

  • Simon D
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Abstract

<p>{W}e investigate the computational structure of a paradigmatic example of distributed social interaction: that of the open-source {W}ikipedia community. {W}e examine the statistical properties of its cooperative behavior, and perform model selection to determine whether this aspect of the system can be described by a finite-state process, or whether reference to an effectively unbounded resource allows for a more parsimonious description. {W}e find strong evidence, in a majority of the most-edited pages, in favor of a collective-state model, where the probability of a “revert” action declines as the square root of the number of non-revert actions seen since the last revert. {W}e provide evidence that the emergence of this social counter is driven by collective interaction effects, rather than properties of individual users.</p>

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Simon, D. (2013). {C}ollective {P}henomena and {N}on-{F}inite {S}tate {C}omputation in a {H}uman {S}ocial {S}ystem. PLoS ONE, 8(10), e75818. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075818

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